Tuesday, April 26, 2005

No Deal: Frist Wants Vote on All Judges

Looks like Bill Frist has been told that he is the Majority Leader. He is standing firm on the issues of judicial confirmations. Mean while Harry Reid thinks he is the majority leader and is trying to dictate the terms of any deal on judges. NewsMax, via the AP, has more on this.

But Frist, in a rare news conference conducted on the Senate floor, said he would not accept any deal that keeps his Republican majority from confirming judicial nominees that have been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Are we going to step back from that principle? The answer to that is no," Frist said.

That means he and Reid are still at deadlock, because Democrats have said they would not accept any deals that would permanently ban them from blocking Bush's nominees to the Supreme Court or the federal appellate courts, the top two tiers of the judicial system.

"As part of any resolution, the nuclear option must be off the table," said Reid, referring to the GOP threat to change the filibuster rules.
Harry wants to give a little here, so he and the dems can use the filibuster later, especially when the Supreme Court openings occur.
Frist would not talk about specifics on Tuesday, but said he would not advocate the withdrawal of any judicial nominee and would continue to insist they all get confirmation votes. "That would mean people in the past as well as the future," Frist said.

Republicans have threatened to use their majority to change long-standing senatorial rules that Democrats used to block 10 of Bush's first-term appeals court nominations. They fear a Democratic blockade could affect a Supreme Court vacancy if a high court seat opens in Bush's second term.
The dems know they do not have the votes to kill any of these nominations, do they resort to the filibuster, which is outside of the Senates Advice and Consent Constitutional role. Each of these nominees deserve an up or down vote in the Senate. There was a time when the ABA rating of most qualified was sufficient for confirmation, now it is all about politics.
Democrats argue that the nominees are too conservative to warrant lifetime appointments to the nation's highest courts. They have threatened to block the seven nominees that Bush sent back after winning re-election, and any others they consider out of the mainstream of judicial temperament.

Democrats drew criticism when they threatened to slow the Senate's business if Republicans eliminate judicial filibusters. Democratic leaders began stressing an alternative approach Monday, attempting to force debate on their own agenda rather than the president's.

"I've always said that we'd make sure the Senate went forward, but we're going to do it on our agenda, not their agenda," Reid said.
As I just said, it is all about politics. No where in the Constitution does it require a super majority to confirm judges. But that is exactly what the dems are trying to do using the filibuster. A note to Harry Reid: When you are the Majority Leader, then you can set the agenda. Until then, you are the leader of the loyal opposition. Time you started remembering that. You will have your chance in 2006. Try getting more of your party elected to the Senate. Until then it is the GOP that sets the agenda. - Sailor

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